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Gralst

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Everything posted by Gralst

  1. What to do with it? How about play it. Yes, you got a great deal on it and yes, it's a very good guitar(on par with a Gibson ES-335 in and of its day) but it isn't some esoteric collectors item worth a vast fortune. Considering its alterations and modifications I'd say it's "worth" ~$2000-$2200. The thing about guitars, any guitar for that matter is that their"worth" isn't always their "value". Worth is a number which can be quantified. Value is the subjective, personal appraisal of an item. If the guitar isn't of a type you'd find of use or utility then your wise action would be to sell/ trade it for something that does satisfy your requirements and desires. I'm not sure what you expect Gibson to respond with. The guitar (to state a cliche which I detest) "is what it is" and what it is is a 1993 Nashville-made Epiphone Riviera Reissue with: Changed machine heads and other modifications.. While changing to the Gibson Deluxe from the stock machines was an improvement in utility, from an originality/collector perspective it lowered the collector "value" by about 5% since installing the Gibson Deluxe machines required an irreversible routing of the mounting hole. The Gibson Deluxe machines however had a neutral impact on the guitar's "worth" since in actuality it was an improvement to the guitar's utility although the modification did have a permanent effect on the guitar's originality. Next, Again, while the SD Mini Hummers are an improvement in the utility and tone, they aren't "original" to the guitar which in the collector marketplace is a 15%-18% reduction in market worth and in market value (collectors want originality). Fortunately the changing pickup mod isn't irreversible. If you happen to have the original pickups great, a collector may want them. I can't imagine any "player" wanting the original pickups as they were the worst sounding, microphonic pieces of crap I've ever heard in a guitar in any price niche. I replaced mine with new, old stock 1966 Gibson Mini Humbuckers which themselves are of considerable vintage market worth but the originals are kept in a Zip Lock in the neck pocket storage should someone desire originality in the unlikely event I was ever to sell mine(Just a note here.- Over the past twenty years or so I've owned two other USA Riviera RIs. A sunburst '93 and a cherry '94. In 1999 I traded my 1966 Riviera for a 1965 Casino because having the'93 reissue satisfied my needs and desires re: a Riviera. I then acquired the other two RIs but they never did much appreciation in the vintage market so I moved on from them. The vintage "worth" factor is dependent upon the customer's "value" perceptions which is often directly correlated to a player of note and high profile using that instrument. The only player of note that was known for playing an Epiphone Riviera RI was Lenny Kravitz and he was a paid endorser and not a huge profile player so he didn't set the collector market afire). OK....now for the possible deal breaker/game changer. The Bigsby. Anyone with an awareness of the vintage guitar game knows that if you have two 1959 Les Paul "Bursts" or two vintage ES-335s in exactly the same condition but one has a stop tail piece and the other has a stock Bigsby the Bigsby guitar will always be worth less. Perhaps as much as 25% less. Outside of a limited niche market Bigsby vibratos are not a desirable element of mainstream guitar buyers. In fact, most of the players I personally know who installed a Bigsby did so because they"looked cool" and before they realized what an adverse effect they had on a guitar's tone except for certain applications. As far as a Bigsby's cost as with anything once installed and then removed it becomes a used piece of hardware worth about 40% of its original cost but reducing the worth of the guitar it was installed on by maybe as much as 30% owing to the irreversible screw holes and installation damage incurred. What all this mean is YES. Your guitar is a great guitar, completely legitimate with a substantial market worth. As a guitar it is in deed ,and not just in the wishful thinking of some owners of the brand, equal to a Gibson ES-335 in materials, finish and construction. It did have less than stellar pickups and the Frequensator tail piece isn't embraced by everyone but it's still a nice guitar. Not being of enough worth to provide a retirement in the Caribbean or of great universal collector desirability it is still a guitar worthy of ownership pride. If it isn't the guitar of your dreams or doesn't cover your needs you should probably sell it and get a guitar that does. I would suggest an honest appraisal from a reputable dealer such as Gruhn's and I'd suggest selling it yourself if possible. Most dealers will rape you on the consignment fees etc. Not because they're all evil demons but because they're in business for their survival, not yours. When they sell one of your guitars it's one of theirs that they don't sell which means they lose on their profit as well as their overhead costs and have to make it up somewhere. Best of luck and if you have any other questions I'll be glad to help if I can.
  2. I've heard of those....yes, quite legitimate and at $500 you committed theft....yours was made on April 20, 1993 ....the one pictured below (mine) was made on June 7, 1993.... $2500 is reasonable to expect to pay for one of these.. There were only 250 in the run. The majority of them were cherry red with a few in sunburst , even fewer in natural and an exceedingly few made in black .
  3. "A dirty little secret is that Matsumoku actually made Epiphones for Gibson in the early 1970's. When the quality of these guitars exceeded the Gibsons upon which they were based, this alarmed Gibson enough to shut Matsumoku down. The 5202T is a hollow-body Trini Lopez that Gibson never produced. Due to the age of the pickups I've had to replace mine with Seymour Duncans, and have refused unsolicited offers from others to purchase it once they see my 5202T. Hint to Gibson, you would be wise to make new Epiphone 5202T's with tremolo bar. This would be different enough from the Trini Lopez so that it would not compete with it, and if priced around $2,500-$3,000 would be unique and a best seller. Your customer service rep took my recommendation in November 2018 for Gibson to revive the Trini Lopez (I have the documentation to prove it, although I think it's prohibitively expensive), so you would do well to do follow my advice again with the Epiphone 5202T." Dirty little secret? It's Epiphone History 101 that with the arrival of the Norlin era on December 19,1969 it was decided that it was no longer economically viable to attempt to compete with a saturated guitar market without an import tier guitar line to compete with the huge influx of Japanese imports while also supporting a second domestic line that had effectively become redundant. The bean counters at Norlin decided to cease domestic production of Epiphone and use the brand to sell a line of imports. Norlin had no manufacturing facilities in Japan so in 1970 they contracted with Matsumoto Mokkou to sell re-branded Aria models with superficial cosmetic changes as these new Epiphones. As well as Aria guitars Matsumoto Mokkou made guitars under many brands including Greco and Arai Diamond. About 1970 Kanda Shokai (who had owned Arai and Greco guitars) who was making a name for himself in Japan producing high quality Gibson knock offs contracted with Matsumoto Mokkou to manufacture some of his Les Paul type of guitars under the Greco brand. The following year Matsumoto Mokkou shortened the name of his company to Matsumoku and began making the import line for Epiphone using the Aria guitar templates (and even using the Aria nomenclature for the first year of Japanese Epiphones (1971) ) Just for accuracy's sake these Japanese Epiphones not only didn't they exceed Gibson quality, they weren't even very good Japanese imports. By the way, the model number for the Arai Diamond (Aria) Trini Lopez was 1232T...and Gibson NEVER shut down Matsumoku (the **** people pull out of their asses)...In fact, in 1974 Gibson recognizing the quality of the Greco Les Pauls then created Epiphone Japan and contracted with Matsumoku to create a near-Gibson quality level of Epiphones manufactured in Japan (Gibson had been precluded from selling their USA products in Japan due to taxes and import tariffs) as a JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) exclusive line. This was somewhat successful and by 1980 the line had global distribution. Unfortunately due to the Japanese economy (over 25% inflation in the mid 70s) many manufacturing concerns went searching for cheaper productions costs. While the JDM Epiphone line remained in Japan much of their other production moved to Korea. One of the victims of the Japanese economic downturn was Singer Sewing Machine Japan which had been entwined with Matsumoku since when they made cabinets for the Singer machines going back to the 1950s. By 1986 Japanese Epiphone production ceased and in 1987 Singer went bankrupt. Fortunately Gibson, which was also on the verge of bankruptcy, was purchased by Henry J and Company who contracted with Samick in Korea to revitalize Epiphone. At about the same time the JDM Epiphones were resuscitated when Terada and Fuji-gen took over manufacturing in 1988. Now, concerning the Gibson Trini Lopez. In 1974 a girlfriend, my best friend (who had previously been the girlfriend's boyfriend-what can I say? It was the 70s) and I were in a music shop where my friend was buying an ES-335. He'd made his decision and they were taking care of business when she turned to me and said:"What are you buying?" I said:"nothing, I don't have any money at present for a new guitar". At this point she said:"You have to get a new guitar too. What do you want? How about that red one you guys were looking at? I like that one. Let me buy you that one." My friend and I were exchanging some very awkward looks because we both knew what she was doing. She was ingratiating herself with me while rubbing his nose in it. I finally said "No" and she used the "If you don't let me buy it for you I'll be very hurt". She then went to get the guy to bring that guitar back out and my friend says to me "Don't be an idiot. Let her buy you the guitar. I'm cool with it". So that day I became the owner of a cherry red 1966 Gibson Trini Lopez. My friend and I had what we called a "left handed compliment" about it.."It's a great blues guitar" (tongue firmly planted in cheek). I was so happy when the girl and I broke up about a year and a half later and within two week I traded it in on a Fender Super Reverb amp lol.. To say I hated the guitar would be too strong so let's just say I liked it very, very little.. I highly doubt your recommendation had anything with the Dave Grohl/Trini reissue that came out in 2014 if memory serves me. As far as the Dave's World of Fun Stuff "Granada" No mystery at all. Granada was one of a myriad brands Matsumoku guitars were sold under world wide. Granada was a UK brand...distributed by Dallas London a large musical instrument concern in the UK such as Selmer and Boosey & Hawkes who re-branded and sold instruments under their brands. If the guy paid $900 in 1980 for that there's probably a future for him being Trump's press secretary because he's either delusional, lying, or both. I bought a brand new white 1974 Gibson Les Paul Custom in early 1975 and paid $600...$900 for an Asian knock off?? I don't think so. Also, you can't really adjust for inflation what the early 70s Epiphones et al sold for back then and how much that would be today because you can get a far, far superior guitar for the adjusted amount to what the 70s guitars were. There are those who'd like to believe these are some desired collectible but at the end of the day they are what they are. Sure, some premium for nostalgia but a thousand bucks today gets you an incredible guitar. I give Epiphone full credit for creating that situation.
  4. For some reason the edit function is giving me a problem but I wanted to add that if I recall the Epiphone EA-250 only came in cherry red which supports my thinking that your guitar is one of the other Matsumoku 5102T guitars...more than likely a Lyle since the Aria uses the pearloid inay/logo on the headstock.
  5. If I recall correctly the Epiphone head stock logo was a pearloid inlay/decal and the Epiphone head stock itself was more squat in shape. My guess is that guitar wasn't branded as an Epiphone but more probably as an Aria, Lyle or Westone , all brands which were made by Matsumoku the parent company of Aria et al These were all the same guitar as the Epiphone version ,an Aria 5102T, with some cosmetic differences and finish options. The first year they were sold (1971) the Epiphone nomenclature was "5102T (and some 5102 "E")" The guitar on the top is an Aria version and the guitar on the bottom is the Lyle version . I noticed that the Aria version has an inlaid head stock logo so yours is probably one of the many Matsumoku models branded otherwise.
  6. Just realized you got one of the new reissues. Nice guitar. Congratulations
  7. I could be confused...it comes with the advancing age thing but there was a natural Korean Texan (I once owned the sunburst version) that went for $800 around the middle of August that had the silk-screened pick guard epsilon and body end truss rod adjustment that I may have considered at $400 (The one I had was truly underwhelming in every aspect) and I know for certain there's currently an Elitist Texan priced BIN at $1599 but it has a very noticeable center seam split on the sound board. Three weeks ago I offered him $1250 and he completely ignored my offer without so much as a counter offer. That '93/'94 USA run had some cool guitars (I've owned three of the Rivieras and managed to hang on to one of them) and the prices they're asking for them have gone through the roof. I have to be honest though. About twenty years ago I had the chance to play one of the Texans at Elderly's Music but having owned a Kalamazoo FT-79N since 1966 I can't say the Bozeman Texan was at all similar to what I knew as a Texan. The Bozeman McCartney on the other hand was awesome but I could barely afford the sale tax on that one. As I said, I could be mixed up. I've been looking on and off for the past few years and it could also possibly be I saw it on Reverb, Craig's List or Marketplace I have the '66 but after fifty four years , two re-frets, and a neck re-set it now needs numbers three and two and it does get cost-prohibitive. I was told my best bet would be a new fret board but it's almost impossible to source Brazilian and even EI is difficult and then there's the matter of cost plus labor costs....and then we arrive at that originality thing which is really of low concern for me. Most of the vintage Texans in my price range are ragged out and I was really hoping about the new reissue but I just can't wrap my head around that head stock. I understand why they used it and I'm sure it's a fantastic guitar but it doesn't happen for me. I guess I'll just be happy with my cheapie $450 Indonesian which is actually a great little guitar and I actually like the neck (1 11/16") over my '66's neck (1 5/8"). I was twelve and still growing when I got the Kalamazoo and it was perfect for my then still-growing hand but as an adult...not so much. The Indonesian is a pretty good guitar for the money though for nostalgia or something I'd like to have a playable Kalamazoo. Here's the Elitist listing on E Bay. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Epiphone-Elitist-Paul-McCartney-1964-Texan/224135889776?_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20160908131621%26meid%3D7eb3d1ae8c064875a56dab41f3f0f9f7%26pid%3D100678%26rk%3D15%26rkt%3D15%26mehot%3Dnone%26sd%3D164380782365%26itm%3D224135889776%26pmt%3D0%26noa%3D1%26pg%3D2380057%26brand%3DEpiphone&_trksid=p2380057.c100678.m3607&_trkparms=pageci%3A18427ff1-f981-11ea-8616-74dbd18069d6|parentrq%3Aa020e3811740aa465e7be725fffb6d14|iid%3A1
  8. I also followed that Texan. It wasn't a Bozeman, it was a Late 90s Korean. A '94 Bozeman Texan (which truth be told IMHO isn't very special) would fetch ~$2-2.5K any day of the week. There's currently (9/12) an Elitist Texan for around $1800 that looks interesting but I need another guitar like I need a cold sore. I have a '66 (albeit on its last legs) and I have a $450 Indonesian that surprisingly holds its own against the Kalamazoo Texan and I actually like it a bit more because of the 1 11/16" nut vs. the 1 5/8" nut. The '66 was purchased new when I was twelve years old and the nut width was perfect at the time for my still-growing hand but as an adult that narrow nut can be problematic. Oh, and congratulations on the new guitar.
  9. I'm pretty familiar with the various domestic runs of Epiphone and i can't think of any run it could have been a part of. The nearest things to a J-200 that Epiphone made were the New York/Philadelphia made FT-210 Deluxe from about 1950-1957 which yours absolutely isn't. The FT-210 Deluxe had a single cut away and was actually slightly larger (17 3/8" lower bout) than a J-200. During the Gibson/Kalamazoo Epiphone years nothing even close was produced domestically although from 1973-1979 there were two J-200 type models called the FT-570 BL (natural finish)and FT-570 SB (sunburst finish) which were made in Japan by Matsumoku. They were generally a J-200 type model although with completely laminated woods, white pearloid block fret board markers and plain black J-200 type pick guard with a white/faux pearl epsilon. The bridge was similar to the the six pin, non-adjustable one used on the contemporary Gibson J-200 with no cut outs and two swept comma pearloid inlays. During what was known as "The Norlin Era" (1970-1985) Gibson acoustics were not enormously popular or famous for their build and material quality. While there were some electric guitars branded as Epiphones made domestically(primarily 1981-1983) I can't think of any USA-made acoustics made in this time frame. About 1992 production of the EJ-200 was started in Korea by Samick . Aside from the plain pick guard on yours, for all intents and purposes this is the guitar you have. Nothing other than the label (which is questionable at best, suggests any connection to USA manufacture. The head stock shape, the machine heads, the three screw truss rod cover, the fret board markers, all suggest Korean manufacture. The bridge while interesting can be explained as an after-market replacement/modification as can the pick guard. As far as the interior label it looks to me as if white-out was used to block out the original "Made In Korea" designation and someone thinking they were clever then added the made In The USA. Why people do such things is anyone's guess. Perhaps to defraud or maybe just to make someone feel they had something special or unique. As I said, I see nothing having to do with the guitar which suggests anything other than 1990s Korean manufacture. As far as value, I'd guess in the neighborhood of ~$300 - ~$400, maybe a bit more, maybe a bit less. If it plays well I wouldn't worry about the minutiae and particulars and just enjoy it.
  10. I have it on good authority that the Casino, along with Mr. McCartney is currently in seclusion at his farm and studio in Sussex along with his daughter and her family but yes, he does use it on the road...are you aware that he has tour back ups for his 500/1, his Texan, his Casino and even his '60 LPS Burst? Ostensibly for "back up" but I also have a feeling they're used as "decoys" The video was made for Russia but is in English. I want Keith Smith's job. This has been ten years so maybe his tech is someone else.
  11. I'm not going to go into a thorough history of Epiphone manufacturing as there has been some good information already offered in this thread. Quickly though, the original Epiphone company made guitars first in New York starting c.1927 and then in about 1953 production was in Philadelphia for a few years until Epiphone was sold to Gibson in a sale which Gibson announced on May 10, 1957 for the princely sum of $20,000. The purchase was ostensibly made to provide the jigs and equipment to make a line of stand up basses. but when completed it was discovered that there was a considerable stock of component parts and electronics included as well as a stock of wood . Some of which was burned in protest by former Epiphone employees who weren't happy with the sale. Gibson decided to put use of the parts by creating a second sales line, Epiphone. besides Leo Fender's Precision Bass pretty much killed the stand up bass market in popular music. This also allowed them to expand their sales network by being able to offer a Gibson-made product without infringing upon the exclusivity arrangements they had with their Gibson dealers. This was the birth of the Gibson iteration of Epiphone. In 1959 Gibson decided to replace their entry-level electric archtop, the ES-225 with a new model, the ES-330. Which was also fully hollow like the ES-225 but resembled the newer trend of thinline guitars like the ES-335, ES-345 and ES-355 although these models were "semi hollow" having a solid block down the middle of the body. In 1961 Gibson decided to issue an Epiphone version of the ES-330. This was the 230-E casino. The very first year the ES-330 and the Casino were nearly identical but as was Gibson's practice the following year changes were made to establish the differences between Gibsons and Epiphones in the sales market.. In fact 1962 there were changes through out nearly the entire Gibson product line. For the Casino the big changes came in 1963 when the headstock logo became a pearloid inlay (previously a metal plate), the fret board markers went from white pearloid dots to white pearloid trapezoids and the P-90 pickups went from having black plastic covers to nickel-plated covers. Paul McCartney's Casino was of this type being a 1962 model shipped from Kalamazoo on November 1, 1962 (serial number: 84075). McCartney obtained the Casino (along with his Epiphone Texan) at Christmas time of 1964. McCartney bought the Casino possibly on the advice of British Blues legend John Mayall after Mayall exposed McCartney to the sounds of American blues players such as B.B. King during their late night record listening sessions. Also in 1963 the headstock shape of the Casino went from a short, squat moustache type to a long, elongated shape. John and George were apparently impressed by the Casino (Though George had previously played a borrowed ES-345 on tour) so at the very beginning of the "Revolver " sessions in early 1966 they both obtained Kalamazoo-made Casinos. John's with a stop tail piece and George's with a Bigsby Vibrato. In summer of 1968 they both stripped their Casinos down to bare wood and applied a thin coat of clear lacquer for protection. The stated reason for this was because they'd heard that guitars without finishes had better acoustic resonance. In 1970 (though some models were shipped into 1971) Gibson ceased Kalamazoo production of all Epiphones and with few and rare exceptions there's been no USA Epiphone production (although I understand Gibson intends to market a custom shop-made Casino later in 2020 ($$$) All three kept their Casinos, John and George until their deaths and beyond (George's is kept at his Friar Park mansion and John's at the John Lennon museum in Tokyo). Paul still has his and it's kept at his Hog Hill Mill recording studio in Icklesham, Sussex England. Didn't intend to write a book but maybe someone found this useful or interesting. Hey, I gotta do whatever I can to get and keep that reputation thing out of the red. lol.
  12. If I was a betting man I'd say you have a 6732E which is what they were called when they first came along in 1971. 6732E was the model number that Aria used on their version of the guitar and the initial Epiphone model was actually an Aria guitar with some superficial changes such as to the headstock. Both guitars were made by Matsumoku and in 1972 the Epiphone nomenclature was changed to FT-130. The guitar is a Grand Auditorium (000)-sized) all laminated mahogany body/spruce top/rosewood fret board guitar as i said, made by Matsumoku in Japan from 1971- ~1980. It had a bolt-on mahogany(?) neck and was the entry model of Epiphone's first Japanese imports. As i also said, it started out about 1969 as an Aria model but the design was also used by Epiphone with some changes. If I recall they listed for $99.99 and streeted for ~$79.99 in 1971. That's about all I can think of at present. If you have any other questions feel free to ask. Accurately dating them is near to impossible but that appears to have the blue "Kalamazoo label" so it was made between 1971 and 1976. After 1976 Epiphone's business offices moved to Lincolnwood, Illinois and they changed the label to a more square white label that said "Another quality product from Norlin-Lincolnwood, Illinois.
  13. Looks to be a 1990 Terada (Japan) made standard Casino. To verify this remove the tune-a-matic bridge and if it says "Japan" there you go.
  14. No question about it. Your Casino is a standard production 1990 Terada.. My serial number is 65783...6=1996 5= standard Casino 783= production sequence.
  15. I've been getting a lot of notifications on Face Book about this model which is currently on sale at Sweetwater for $219 and I was wondering if anyone has bought one or has other insight to the model. I am very much a realist and have extremely small expectations but what say you? Is it a decent little sofa guitar I can strum on while watching TV or take out on the boat or to the beach or maybe camping? Is the sound respectable or thin and tinny? I'm just very curious because I didn't really buy myself anything for Christmas and this fits the bill price-wise and although I need another acoustic guitar like I need a STD it looks like it might be fun. Good or bad? Let's hear ya.
  16. I have this guitar but mine was a Christmas present in 1971 and one of the first Matsumoku-made Japanese imports so its model number is 6830E. It's down in my basement and hasn't been played in a very long time but remains an object of sentimentality. Strings-wise you might try some Martins or Ernie Ball Earthwoods in 12-53 gauge. Ernie Ball makes what they call "custom lights" with are 11-53 (I think). The lighter gauge/less tension might be kinder on your guitar since these do have a proclivity to having the neck pocket collapse from drying out after years of being subjected to changing environmental conditions. Good luck.
  17. 6732E was a model number used on Aria guitars 1969-1971 that were re-branded and sold as Epiphones when the first wave of imports appeared c. very late1970. Between 1970 and 1971 this was sold as an Epiphone model. In 1972 the 6732 became the FT-120. The FT-120 stuck around until about 1979. These instruments were completely laminated "000" bodies and were made by Matsumoku in Japan (Never in Kalamazoo). Today their valuation is ~$125-$150 condition dependent.
  18. I think I used to know this guy...
  19. There was also a limited run of USA Texans in 1993/1994 though they bore little similarity to the original or the later reissues for that matter For what I think the USA Texans will street for I might be inclined to go with a second hand (Gibson) Advanced Jumbo. Truth be told I haven't been impressed with what Gibson is flogging as their "modern" acoustics and I have a feeling the USA Epiphones will follow this trend. Gibson does in deed like to fire everyone up with these blasts from the past and get everyone's hopes up but at the end of the day it always ends up being pretty much same old same old nothing burger. We shall see. I already own a '66 and a 2018 Indonesian reissue that I've been quite pleased with so I'm not likely to be one of their prospective buyers but you never know.. Remember: Gibson isn't going to get too close with the minutiae of the reissues for the unwashed masses because they're always looking ahead to selling a very close clone for stupid money to the fanatics with fat wallets.
  20. Judging by bridge, headstock logo and other details it's a Samick-made (Korean) model made between 1989 and 1994.
  21. I don't like pickguards on ES guitars (They cause static electrical interference).
  22. That's fine except what are the "true" Kalamazoo specs since over the course of the Kalamazoo era (1957-1970) there were many changes in "specs" such as nut width, bracing size and pattern, hardware used (nickel or chrome?), electronics used to say nothing of the myriad changes in the horn/body shape of models like the Crestwood and Coronet to say nothing of the amount of changes the Epiphone head stock itself under went. To me the best solution would be to keep the specs that were specific to the model year/era the particular Epiphone model is representing with guitars that were originally Kalamazoo Epiphone models and with the Gibson models that the Epiphone models are an impression of should remain clearly different and distinctive to the actual for the reasons of the Gibson consumer being entitled to the distinctive Gibson model differences and material and manufacturing improvements. It also males it more difficult for the unscrupulous to pass off the lower priced guitar as something worth significantly more to someone less informed. As I'm sure you know at the point in time when Epiphone began more universal distribution of their product lines with more accuracy in design and features Matsumoku was making a pretty accurate line of Japanese Domestic product as well as a re-badged line of Aria instruments. In about 1983 Samick began Korea production which by 1985 included a Sheraton model as did the JDM and Aria lines. Initally they used a different head stock shape and logo to make the distinction eventually using only a different head stock. In 1993/1994 they had a short run of American (Nashville-made) Sheratons and Riviera (et al) utilizing the Kalamazoo headstock so for a short while there were Japanese, USA and Korea Sheratons and Rivieras in the market place and with only small differences such as the clipped corner Sheraton headstock and the full sized hum bucker routs and minute differences in the cut away horn shape. Just a few years after that the AIUSA lines came along and added even more chaos to the party. I believe this is why there has to be differences and distinctions. If the basic premise of the model is there along with the intrinsic function and basic design I don't it needs to be an exact clone and if someone pays for a particular guitar to be a more exacting impression of something they should receive that without someone else getting it for free. For the most part, regardless of brand, Gibson, Epiphone, Fender whatever the "distinctive original" features that are desired were things that were changed or discontinued were changed or discontinued as a result of cost cutting or manufacturing methods so ultimately to make guitars "like they used to" is going to price some instruments out of reach for some. I can only speak for myself but I think I'd prefer having a guitar that isn't quite an exact clone of something to being required to pay considerable more for features that don't improve the function but only make the guitar more expensive through the inclusion of non-essential and superficial cosmetic differences.
  23. I've been coming to this forum going on about twenty years and thinking back to my early visits the Gibson V. Epiphone debate was as heated and ubiquitous then as it is now. And now, as it was then I'm certain there's no resolution. I ask myself: "why would anyone want Gibson to drop the Epiphone name and have a single brand?"The most obvious reason would be to be able to own a "Gibson" for the price of an "Epiphone" but in order for it to be an actual "Gibson" the cost cutting measures that allow for an Epiphone to be in the market place at its price point would have to be instituted and the resulting instrument wouldn't be close to the Gibson in terms of materials and manufacturing quality. Simply putting a head stock shape and logo on an Epiphone isn't going to magically turn it into a Gibson. The consumer who walks into the music shop with the intention of buying an actual Gibson and all that goes into it being an actual Gibson isn't going to go for having the brand diminished in such a manner. Agree or disagree with the concept, the cost of having the craftsmanship, higher grade materials and wood and even the, nitro finish is something the potential Gibson customer has accepted when he (or she) is reaching into their wallet. To them the head stock shape and brand are going to be representative of the expectation of that product, not that I agree with that always being the case. In the past thirty years Epiphone has been instrumental (lol...see what I did there?) in transforming the guitar industry through bringing a high quality, high utility, aesthetically pleasing guitar at a reasonable price point but it's not, and will never be a Gibson. It's not even what some of us old geezers see as an Epiphone. I think it's a great disservice to the brand when people want to change the minutiae so that it appears to be something else other than what it is. The cosmetic and superficial changes I've most seen asked to be changed speak more to the insecurities of the owners rather than to any deficiencies in the guitar. The head stock shape and brand have zero influence on the guitar's play ability, tone, utility or intrinsic quality. I drive a Buick Regal and I'd love it if I could get an Aston Martin DB 10 for the same cost but that's not reality and like the Gibson costing a lot more than the Epiphone there are reasons it does. The Gibson owner has made the commitment and investment and should be entitled to have those features that set it apart. The Epiphone instruments are nothing to be ashamed of, in fact they're pride-worthy guitars. I own both. I'm not ashamed of the Epiphones and I don't think I'm special because I have the Gibsons. I'm currently seeking out an Epiphone FT-79 Texan to replace one I've had since 1966 that is now on the verge of giving up the ghost. With no reflection upon the owners of said guitars or their choices, the Inspired By line doesn't do it for me so I'm left with two choices, a Kalamazoo vintage model or a Japanese Elitist. The Elitist is going to be about half what the vintage is going to cost but my intention is to use and actually play the guitar not stick it in a cabinet to look at. To pay stupid money for a fine vintage instrument and then schlep it around exposing it to wear and tear or maybe even theft is just wrong. In this case the economy route is the smart and more practical route. I'm certain the Elitist is going to be different in some ways to the Kalamazoo but not different in ways that matter and at the end of the day it's going to be a solid mahogany, long scale, AJ bodied acoustic with none of the prestige of a vintage Texan but I'm not buying it for prestige I'm buying it as a guitar. I've ranted and rambled quite enough. My point is accept and appreciate what the guitar is and don't try to make it something it isnt.
  24. I happen to see on the Epiphone web page that there's a "Limited Edition" 1964 Elitist Texan. I'm aware that there was one in the early 2000s but the information seems to suggest this is a new and current offering but I've seen no other information elsewhere. I'm at the exploratory stage of replacing my close friend of fifty two years and was actually looking for a vintage Kalamazoo Texan but since this is going to be a player I could be more than happy with a contemporary Elitist. The one at the Epiphone page is advertised as having solid rims and a nitro finish albeit it it does have the old adjustable bridge. I'm not interested in the "Inspired By" or whatever it is but I am curious about the Elitist model and whether it is in deed a current offering and the list price. Thanx in advance for any info you can give me.
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